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Palm Beach real estate market emerging from doldrums

Posted On: 05-23-2010

 

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
By Darrell Hofheinz

Updated: 7:57 p.m. Saturday, May 22, 2010

Posted: 3:29 p.m. Saturday, May 22, 2010

After slogging through the first half of 2009 when property sales on the island were nearly as hard to come by as snowflakes on a midtown beach local real estate brokers and their agents entered the Palm Beach season with an understandable sense of unease.

But by season’s end, most were breathing a bit easier, having watched the market begin to rebound last fall and pick up steam during the winter and spring.

Still, agents spent much of the last eight months wincing as home sellers refused to scale back their price expectations, while buyers dug in their heels in anticipation of getting bargains. That icy standoff, agents report, lately has begun to thaw over the negotiation table, and property prices are falling to more realistic levels.

Along the way, there have been some notable sales of single-family homes, although observers have largely accepted that Palm Beach’s boom years have been swept away with the tides. After all, it seems hard to fathom that less than two years ago, Donald Trump sold his North County Road investment estate for $95 million, while two other properties in 2008 sold for $81 million and $68.5 million.

In comparison, the biggest sale this season came in December, when billionaire Malcolm Glazer sold his Mizner-designed La Bellucia at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd. for $24 million to fellow billionaire Jeffrey Greene, who last month declared his candidacy as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate. In the sale, Corcoran Group Real Estate represented Glazer, and Fite Shavell & Associates represented Greene.

Glazer family members also were involved in the season’s next biggest sale, a $20.5 million transaction that occurred in March when Malcolm Glazer’s daughter and son-in-law, Darcie Glazer and Joel Kassewitz, bought 850 S. County Road from the Isabel Collier Read Residence Trust. Brown Harris Stevens represented both parties.

Other transactions above $17 million included April’s sale of a vacant lot at 947 N. Ocean Blvd. for $19.32 million, with Tina Fanjul Associates handling both sides of the transaction. February’s $17.1 million sale of 340 Polmer Park saw Sotheby’s International Realty represent the seller and Lawrence A. Moens Associates the buyer.

The season saw slow sales in the $11 million to $14 million range. In October, Linda A. Gary Real Estate’s listing for 1072 N. Lake Way brought $11.9 million, with Moira Jaye Realty representing the buyer. And in April, 822 S. County Road sold for $13.5 million, with Sotheby’s representing the seller and Betsy S. Green Real Estate representing the buyer.

And eyebrows shot up in February, when the Manalapan mansion at 1370 S. Ocean Blvd. — once owned by Lois and the late Generoso Pope and last sold in 2004 by developer Frank McKinney for $22.4 million — changed hands for just $12 million, after its former owners transferred the deed to one of their lender’s subsidiaries to satisfy an outstanding $22.4 million lien. Engel & Voelkers represented the buyer, while Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller.

A scattering of homes in Palm Beach sold for more than $6 million, sales that might have raised barely an eyebrow a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, sales of mid-range homes and vacant lots priced between $3 million and $6 million — transactions once as common in Palm Beach as sea breezes — have in the last three months begun to emerge from the doldrums. It’s a sign that the Palm Beach real estate market, if not exactly in robust health, is certainly no longer a candidate for defibrillation.

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, May 23, 2010, Palm Beach Daily News

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/special-sections/season-in-review/palm-beach-real-estate-market-emerging-from-doldrums-703224.html

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